Sunday, 22 January 2012


Seaweed, everyone keeps telling us, is by far the best fertiliser for the garden. It's the traditional fertiliser of the croft lands, used on the old lazybeds, and it contains virtually all the nutrients the soil needs. Better still, there's loads of it along the beaches after the winter storms, it has been washed free of salt by the recent rain, and it's free.

So, this morning, with our vegetable beds largely empty of crops and the sun making fleeting appearances, we set off with wheelbarrow and garden fork to collect some from the beach below our house.

Knowing nothing about the subject, we tried to avoid the stems of the kelp, but getting the 'leaves' out from between these rubbery, elastic stalks is far from easy. And the seaweed, as well as being gelatinous and messy, smells. So we loaded the barrow, in the process covering ourselves with brown slime.

The beach is only about 250 metres, in a straight line, from our house. Sadly, the straight line runs straight up a steep, muddy, slippery slope down which yesterday's 20mm of rain is still running. Although we had attached a strop to the front of the barrow, so one of us could pull while the other pushed, it was the devil of a job getting our precious load of fertilizer up the slope.

We were half way up the slope when a sea eagle sailed by, turning to stare down at us before continuing across Kilchoan Bay. Its white tail was picked out by the low winter sunlight, it was flying low and in the typically unhurried fashion of its species, so it would have made a perfect picture. Sadly, The Diary's hands were too covered in slime to use the camera.

We managed four barrowloads before we collapsed. There are probably quantum laws of physics which explain why mass and volume are reduced by transport because, once we'd spread our weed across the beds, it seemed to have shrunk. At this rate it's going to take us weeks to fertilise our vegetable patch.


  1. We, too, believe in seaweed fertiliser. However we receive it packed in large sacks and in grain form which can be spread easily, does not diminish in size, and is effective over long periods of time because of its slow release!

  2. They used to leave it for months to break down before they put it on before it was used.